May, 2022

Below are links to articles posted in May, 2022

How Often Do I Need a Bone Scan and Density Test?

Diseases that affect your bones can develop without you knowing unless you test for them. You may also have symptoms like aches and pains and never realize that something more serious is developing. This is why your doctor may recommend getting a bone scan or a bone density test. Early detection can often lead to better outcomes for treatment.

What Are Bone Scans and Density Tests?

A bone scan is a type of imaging test that is used to detect bone diseases. During a bone scan, you will lie on a table while a special scanner moves over your body. The scanner sends out low doses of radiation that pass through your bones. Different types of bone diseases will show up on the scanner and can be detected and diagnosed. Bone scans are mainly used in cancer patients to determine if the disease has spread to the bones. They can also be used to detect other diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, infections, and kidney disorders that affect your bones.

A density test measures how dense your bones are. Density tests are often done along with a CT scan that can assess your soft tissue. The density test is often done to measure the amount of minerals in your bones.

Osteoporosis is a disease that can lead to low bone density. A density test can show if you have osteoporosis and help your doctor decide your treatment. A CT scan, DEXA scan, or a Sonogram are the three common ways that doctors measure your bone density. You may have to have both tests if your doctor thinks you have conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis.

How Are Bone Scans and Density Tests Different?

A bone scan and a density test are two different tests that look at your bones in different ways. Bone scans are more invasive and can show changes in your bones that are not visible to the eye. A density test will only show areas of your bones that are affected by diseases.

Density tests can also show up areas that are not diseased but are likely to be affected in the future. Bone scans will show up any abnormalities in your bones and can be used to diagnose a disease. Density tests are mainly used for osteoporosis and can show if you are at risk for developing the disease in the future.

When Should I Get a Bone Scan or Density Test?

A bone scan can be used to detect diseases that affect your bones or to rule out diseases like arthritis or infections. Bone scans can also be used to diagnose diseases like multiple myeloma, osteosarcoma, or cancer. Your doctor will decide when you should have a bone scan based on your medical history and symptoms. People with cancer or other diseases that affect the bones may need to get a bone scan to monitor the disease.

If you are at risk for osteoporosis, your spine doctor may recommend a density test. This test is often done along with a CT scan to look at your soft tissue. Osteoporosis is a disease that can lead to low bone density. A density test can show if you have osteoporosis and help your doctor decide your treatment.

Bone scans and density tests take different amounts of time. Bone scans generally take about one hour and density tests take one to two hours. You may have to wait a few weeks before getting a density test if you recently had a CT scan or got an X-ray. These tests can interfere with the results.

Don’t Wait to Talk To Your Doctor About Back and Bone Health Concerns

If you have concerns about your bone health, don’t wait to seek treatment. Here at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, our team of doctors offer personalized treatment plans for your specific ailment. We take time to learn about you and your condition as well as educate you about your circumstances before proceeding with treatment options. Our goal is to help you regain your quality of life by reducing or removing pain from the equation.

Contact us at OLSS by calling (855) 853-6542 or filling out our contact form to schedule an appointment.

Do Herniated Discs Worsen Over Time?

A herniated disk is a relatively common back problem that is often caused by an injury. A skilled spine surgeon will attempt to pursue other treatments besides surgery if possible. Surgery may be immediately recommended, however, depending on the severity of your condition and how long it has been herniated. Here is a look at herniated disks and if they get worse over time.

What Are Herniated Discs?

A herniated disc is a condition in which pressure on the spinal column causes a portion of a disc to break through its outer casing. Doctors call this the posterior annulus. It happens when there is too much pressure on the disc from the inside and not enough support from the outside. The disc is a spongy-type material that acts as a cushion between the bones in your spine and the spinal cord.

The disc is made up of two parts: the nucleus pulposus and the annulus fibrosus. The nucleus pulposus contains water and is the soft center of the disc. The annulus fibrosus is the tough, outer layer surrounding the nucleus. The end of the disc closest to the spinal cord is called the disc’s posterior side. That’s where the disc bulge is likely to occur.

Do Herniated Discs Get Worse Over Time?

Herniated discs, if left untreated, are likely to worsen over time. Discs that herniate are not likely to get better on their own, and they are also likely to progress and worsen over time. Studies show that people with a herniated disc that has not been treated are 2/3 more likely to have a recurrence of their symptoms than those who have undergone an operative procedure.

A herniated disc may worsen in a few different ways:

  • The herniation itself may cause a segment of the spine to become unstable and degenerate, leading to degenerative disc disease.
  • The pressure from the herniated disc may cause nerve root impingement, leading to significant pain and decreased function.
  • An untreated herniated disc may lead to a ruptured disc, which often requires surgery.

Seek the help of a back doctor if you suspect a herniated disc, as intervention may be needed to keep the condition from getting worse.

How Do You Know if a Herniated Disc Will Worsen Over Time?

You can tell if a herniated disc will worsen over time by looking at your disc’s type. Discs come in different varieties, and each one has a different prognosis (or outcome) with regard to whether the disc will herniate again.

Type I Discs

Type I discs are the “younger” discs within the spine. They are generally more pliable than other disc types and are likely to herniate only once before stabilizing. Because they do not degenerate like Type II and Type III discs, they are less likely to worsen over time.

Type II Discs

Type II discs are the “mature” discs within the spine. They do not return to their original shape after a herniation. This disc will likely degenerate and worsen over time, even if it is treated surgically.

Type III Discs

Type III discs degenerate at a very rapid rate, making them highly susceptible to herniation. Like Type II discs, Type III discs are unlikely to improve after a surgical procedure.

When Should You Have Surgery for a Herniated Disk?

You should have surgery for a herniated disc if you have significant pain that does not respond to conservative treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy, or if your symptoms are causing you to experience a significant loss of function. However, you should also have surgery for a herniated disc if your disc is likely to worsen over time.

While it is possible that your symptoms could improve significantly over time without surgery, the chance of them getting worse is much higher. If you are unsure whether or not surgery is right for you, you should speak with your doctor about whether waiting and observing your condition is a viable option.

Other Treatments Before Surgery for a Herniated Disk

If surgery sounds intimidating but you are still concerned that a herniated disc is likely to worsen, there are other treatments you can consider before taking the plunge into surgery. Conservative care for a herniated disc can often help people avoid surgery and its inherent risks.

Physical therapy is a commonly recommended treatment for a herniated disc. While there is little research available regarding the effectiveness of this treatment, it is generally thought to be helpful for managing pain and increasing mobility. Additionally, anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium (also known as Aleve), are also commonly prescribed before surgery for a herniated disc, especially if the person has significant back pain.

While these treatments do not provide a long-term solution, they can help you avoid the risks associated with surgery. You should consult with a spine specialist to determine which treatments are best for you.

Get Help Fixing a Herniated Disc From an Expert Spine Specialist

A herniated disc is a serious medical problem, and while there are options to relieve pain in the meantime, you need to get it looked at as soon as possible. Our spine surgeons and back doctors at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery are leaders in their field, offering minimally-invasive procedures for complications such as herniated discs. These procedures offer faster recovery times than traditional procedures, reducing your pain and helping you achieve a better quality of life.

Contact us here at OLSS by calling (855) 853-6542 or filling out our contact form to schedule an appointment with one of our back and spine experts.

How to Tell if Your Foot Pain Is Caused by a Spinal Injury

Pain in your foot can be caused by a number of factors, including problems with your spine. Your back, spine, and other major body structures work together to help you move. If one is injured, it can create balance problems elsewhere that can lead to pain.

If you are experiencing a suspected spinal injury, do not wait to get help and insight into what you may require to recover. Our team at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery offers personalized treatment plans so you can get help for your specific condition, whether simple or complex.

How Your Spine Functions and Helps You Walk

The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are stacked on top of one another and are connected to muscles, tendons, and nerves that help you move. Together, these parts form a central column that runs from the base of your head to your tailbone. It is responsible for many essential bodily functions, including:

  • Balance: Your spine helps regulate your sense of balance. It sends information about the environment around you to your brain. This allows you to walk without falling.
  • Movement: Your spine connects to every major body part, including your feet. It sends signals to your muscles and tendons to create movement.
  • Feeling: Your spine is also connected to your nervous system. It helps you feel things like temperature, pressure, and touch. It also helps you experience your sense of pain.
  • Breathing: Your diaphragm is a large muscle that helps you breathe. It is connected to your ribs, which are connected to your spine.
  • Spine Health: Your spine is protected inside by your spinal fluid. This fluid helps your spine stay healthy.

A spine condition can cause complications for any one of these functions or more. As the spine is the base of many nerves, complications can also cause pain all around the body, such as in the feet.

Spinal Conditions That Can Cause Foot Pain

There are a number of spinal conditions that can cause foot pain. The most common include:

  • Spinal Stenosis: This is a condition where the spinal canal narrows. This can lead to a pinched spinal cord. It can cause foot pain that is often worse at night.
  • Spinal Herniation: This is when part of the spinal cord becomes squeezed into the spine. It can cause foot pain that is often worse with bending, coughing, or sudden movements.
  • Spondylolisthesis: This is when one vertebra slips forward over the one below it. It can cause foot pain.
  • Sciatica: This is caused when the sciatic nerve is pinched in the back of the spine. It can cause foot pain that moves from the toes up the leg.
  • Vertebral Fracture: This is when a bone in the spine breaks. It can cause foot pain.

It is essential to get a professional diagnosis for your spinal condition so that you can receive personalized treatment for the fastest and healthiest recovery.

Signs of a Spinal Injury

It is possible to have a spinal injury without even knowing it, which can contribute to your frustration in finding the source of your foot pain. If you have a spinal injury, you may notice any of the following signs:

  • Spinal Cord Bruising: If the spinal cord is bruised, you may notice pain in your foot. This pain can be sudden and severe.
  • Drop Foot: If you have spinal stenosis or herniation, you may notice drop foot. This is when one side of your foot drops while walking.
  • Imbalance: If you have spinal stenosis, you may notice an imbalance while walking. This is because one side of your body is weaker than the other.
  • Weakness: If you have spinal stenosis or herniation, you may notice weakness in your foot. This is because one side of your body is weaker than the other.
  • Urinary Issues: If you have spinal stenosis, you may notice difficulty urinating. This is because your urethra is pinched by the narrowed spinal canal.

Spinal injuries can worsen over time, so it is essential to seek help whenever you begin to suspect a spine issue.

Seek Help for Your Foot-Related Spine Condition at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery

If you suspect you have a spinal condition, it is important to see a doctor. They can help determine if you have a spinal injury and advise which treatment is recommended for your specific condition.

The spine surgeons and back doctors at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery are leaders in their field, providing highly personalized treatment plans so you get the relief you need for your spine and foot pain. We offer non-surgical recommendations before even considering surgical options. If you do require surgery, we perform minimally-invasive procedures to help ensure your recovery is hasty and you’re back to your usual quality of life in no time.

Contact us here at OLSS by calling (855) 853-6542 or filling out our contact form.

What Happens During a Coccygectomy?

A coccygectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the tailbone, also known as the coccyx. Tailbone pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, ranging from benign to serious. Generally speaking, patients with chronic coccyx pain have little choice other than surgery to alleviate their symptoms.

Depending on your particular case and condition, your doctor may recommend an open or laparoscopic approach for your surgery. Here is what happens during a coccygectomy.

What Is the Purpose of a Coccygectomy?

A coccygectomy is a surgery performed to remove the bones of the tailbone. These bones are commonly fractured in people with chronic tailbone pain, and surgery is usually the only way to resolve the problem and get rid of the pain.

Tailbone pain is typically caused by a degeneration of the joints in the coccyx. This degeneration can be caused by injury, childbirth, or simply wear and tear over time. The coccygectomy surgery is typically a last-resort procedure to treat tailbone pain that doesn’t respond to other treatments.

Preoperative Preparation for a Coccygectomy

Before your procedure, you will meet with your surgeon to discuss your particular case and to receive instructions on how to prepare for the surgery. You should expect to follow a preoperative diet in the days leading up to your surgery. Your doctor will likely give you instructions for the type and amount of fluids that you are allowed to consume. You may be advised to take various supplements in order to boost your immune system and strengthen your bones.

Depending on the particularities of your case, your surgeon may recommend that you receive antibiotics in order to prevent infection. It is important that you adhere to the preoperative instructions so that you are in the best possible shape for the surgery.

What Is an Open Coccygectomy?

An open coccygectomy involves cutting a large incision in the skin and soft tissue over the tailbone in order to fully expose the bones in question. This type of procedure is typically only recommended in rare cases.

Patients with severe infection or patients with very poor bone density may not be able to undergo laparoscopic surgery. In these cases, a large incision may be the only way to access the bones in question. Open coccygectomy is a very invasive procedure with a high risk of complications.

What Is a Laparoscopic Coccygectomy?

In a laparoscopic coccygectomy, the surgeon will insert a special instrument into the abdomen and remove the tailbone through a small incision in the skin. This procedure is often recommended for patients with a normal or healthy immune system. A laparoscopic coccygectomy involves significantly less risk than an open procedure.

Recovery and Aftercare for a Coccygectomy

After your procedure, you will stay in the hospital for 24 hours so that your doctor can closely monitor your progress and make sure that everything goes as planned. In most cases, patients will experience some pain and discomfort in the days after surgery. It is important that you follow the doctor’s instructions on when and how to move around in order to reduce the risk of complications.

You may experience some blood clotting and swelling, which is normal following any surgery. Patients typically return to work and daily activities within two to six weeks after a coccygectomy. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and take it easy for the first few weeks following your surgery in order to ensure a smooth recovery.

Get Expert Help if You Are Experiencing Tailbone Pain and Considering a Coccygectomy

If you are experiencing tailbone pain, get help from the experts. There may be another option for relief before a coccygectomy. Our team at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery is dedicated to helping solve your back pain in the least invasive manner possible, improving your recovery time and quality of life after your procedure. Our compassionate spine surgeons and technicians will create a personalized approach for your specific condition, giving you the specialized attention you need.

Contact us here at OLSS by calling (855) 853-6542 or filling out our contact form.

5 Tips for Buying a Mattress That Supports Your Back

You spend nearly a third of your daily hours on your mattress. With so much exposure, it is one of the things in your life with the most influence on your spine and back. You need a mattress that can support you the right way to avoid pain and injuries. Below are some tips for buying a mattress that supports your back.

Know Your Body Type and Needs

Before you even go shopping for a mattress, you’ll want to know what your body type and needs are. This way, you’ll be able to identify the type of mattress that will work best for you and your sleeping preferences.


If you’re a heavier individual, you may need a mattress that offers both firmness and extra support. On the other hand, lighter individuals typically do best with a softer mattress.

Body Type

Do you have a larger or smaller build? This can have an impact on the type of mattress that’s best for you. For example, if you’re a larger individual, you may want a firmer mattress that provides ample support.

Sleeping Position

What is your sleeping position? Do you mostly sleep on your back, side, or stomach? This can have a big impact on what kind of mattress you should be looking for. Typically, back sleepers do best with a softer mattress. Side sleepers, on the other hand, need a firmer mattress.

Joint Issues

Do you have any joint issues or pain in your back? If so, you’ll want to pay special attention to the lumbar support of any mattresses that you’re considering. You may also want to try a firmer mattress.

Don’t Skimp on Quality

One of the most important things to remember when shopping for a mattress is that you shouldn’t skimp on quality. After all, a high-quality mattress is likely to last you several years and even decades. Therefore, it’s essential to invest in a mattress that is both comfortable and supportive.

Keep in mind that some types of mattresses are more expensive than others. If you’re looking for a high-quality mattress that’s going to provide the best support for your back, you’ll want to avoid buying the cheapest option. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a new mattress, then you can also consider purchasing a high-quality used mattress.

Try Before You Buy

Before you buy any mattress, it’s a good idea to try it out for at least a few minutes. This way, you’ll be able to determine how you feel when you’re lying down on the mattress. You’ll also be able to get a sense of how firm the mattress feels.

Generally, you’ll want to look for a mattress that’s firm but not too hard. Ideally, the mattress should provide just enough support to keep your back aligned while still giving you enough space to move around freely. If you’re shopping for a mattress at a brick-and-mortar retailer, you may be able to lie down on the mattress for a few minutes in the store.

Look for a Mattress With Good Lumbar Support

As we’ve discussed, one of the key benefits of a high-quality mattress is that it provides ample support for your back. However, it’s important to note that there is no universal “best” mattress for everyone.

Generally, you’ll want to look for a mattress with good lumbar support. What does this mean exactly? Lumbar support is the amount of pressure that is put on the lower back while lying down. Ideally, you’ll want a mattress that keeps your lower back aligned while supporting it and the rest of your body. In general, that means that you’ll want a firmer mattress.

You’ll also want to avoid a mattress that is overly soft or, conversely, too firm. If you’re unsure about the level of lumbar support offered by a particular mattress, you can always ask the salesperson for more information.

Ask for a Firm Mattress

As we’ve discussed, you’ll generally want to look for a firmer mattress for chronic back pain. However, there’s a difference between “firm” and “too firm”. If you’re looking for a mattress with firm lumbar support, you may want to consider asking for a firmer mattress.

Keep in mind that firmness is different for each person. Therefore, there’s no universal “right” or “wrong” when it comes to firmness. However, if you have chronic back pain and are unsure how firm your mattress should be, it may be a good idea to err on the side of caution.

Seek Out a Spine Health Expert for Back Pain Concerns

Mattress technology has improved significantly over the past few decades. That being said, a good mattress can’t solve all back issues. If you’re dealing with long term spine or back pain, reach out to a spinal health expert at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery to learn about your options. We create specialized plans targeted to the needs of each patient’s specific condition, and we focus on the least invasive options possible in your scenario to help reduce your recovery time and maintain your quality of life.

Reach out to us here at OLSS by calling (855) 853-6542, or fill out our contact form to discuss your options for better sleep and spine health.